Fresh off of a rain-shortened 2-2 road trip to open the second half, the Atlanta Braves return to SunTrust Park where they will open a seven-game home stand beginning with a four-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Braves will begin the homestand at 54-44 and 1.5 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East standings. Atlanta split a rain-shortened series against Washington coming out of the break and then split a two-game set in Miami. Atlanta is just 5-10 over the last 15 games.
Ozzie Albies has missed the last three games with tightness in his right hamstring but could return as soon as Thursday’s series opener. Albies exited last Friday’s game in Washington early after he apparently suffered the injury while legging out a first inning double. The Braves called the move precautionary but elected to sit him for the remainder of the series in Washington and both games in Miami.
The Dodgers are in the final stop of a three city, 10-game road trip. They arrive in Atlanta with a 56-46 record and a half game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West standings. They have lost two straight and are 3-3 on the trip.
Atlanta dropped 2-of-3 in Los Angeles back in early June.
Thursday, July 26, 7:35 p.m. ET (Fox Sports Southeast)
Rich Hill (13 G, 12 GS, 3-4 W-L, 25.8 K%, 9.0 BB%, 4.26 ERA, 4.66 FIP, 4.06 xFIP)
Rich Hill will be the first of three left-handed starters the Braves will face in the series. Hill is coming off a strong start where he allowed five hits and one run over six innings against Milwaukee. This will be Hill’s first appearance against the Braves this season. He has been tough on Atlanta in the past making eight appearances (six starts) allowing just nine earned runs over 39 2/3 innings.
Anibal Sanchez (13 G, 12 GS, 5-2 W-L, 24.2 K%, 7.6 BB%, 2.76 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 4.03 xFIP)
Atlanta will counter with Anibal Sanchez in the opener who has been one of the team’s most reliable options this season. While there may have been fears that Sanchez’s hot start wasn’t sustainable he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. Sanchez allowed six hits and three runs over six innings in his last start against the Nationals. He has a 2.92 ERA in four starts in July and has struck out 26 batters and walked just six.
Sanchez picked up Atlanta’s lone victory over Los Angeles this season when he allowed three hits and two runs over 5 1/3 innings back on June 9.
Friday, July 27, 7:35 p.m. ET (Fox Sports South)
Clayton Kershaw (14 GS, 3-5 W-L, 25.1 K%, 5.1 BB%, 2.64 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 3.09 xFIP)
Clayton Kershaw may not be quite as dominant as in years past but he still gives the Dodgers a chance to win just about every time he takes the mound. He will do so again on Friday when he faces the Braves for the first time this season. Kershaw allowed seven hits and four runs over six innings in his last start against the Brewers. Three of the runs were unearned and he has allowed a total of six earned runs in four starts this month.
Kershaw has battled injury and has dealt with a drop in velocity but still has more than enough to get the job done. He has faced the Braves nine times in his career and has a 1.47 ERA in 61 1/3 innings.
Mike Foltynewicz (19 GS, 7-6 W-L, 28.2 K%, 10.1 BB%, 2.85 ERA, 3.38 FIP, 3.63 xFIP)
Mike Foltynewicz matched up against Max Scherzer in his first post All-Star game start. Now he faces another staff ace in Kershaw. Folty is looking to get back on track after allowing four runs or more in each of his last three outings. He allowed nine hits and four runs over 5 2/3 in his last start against the Nationals. Three of those runs came in the first inning and he seemed to settle in from there before allowing another run in the sixth.
Saturday, July 28, 7:10 p.m. ET (Fox Sports South)
Alex Wood (20 GS, 6-5 W-L, 21.1 K%, 5.0 BB%, 3.87 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 3.55 xFIP)
Former Brave Alex Wood will get the start against his old club on Saturday. Wood has had a bit of an up and down year but has put together a solid stretch of late. He allowed five hits and two runs over six innings last time out against the Brewers. Both runs came in the first inning Wood took the loss in his previous matchup against the Braves this season allowing nine hits and four runs (two earned) over just 4 2/3 innings.
Sean Newcomb (20 GS, 9-5 W-L, 22.1 K%, 12.1 BB%, 3.41 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 4.36 xFIP)
Sean Newcomb will take his turn against Wood on Saturday and will be looking to build off of a quality outing in his last start. Newcomb allowed just four hits and one run over six innings against the Marlins on Monday. That snapped a stretch where he had allowed 13 runs over his last 12 innings. Command has been the issue and he pitched himself into and out of trouble against the Marlins walking four. He has struck out 12 through four starts this month but has walked 16 and four or more in three of his last four starts.
Sunday, July 29, 1:35 p.m. ET (Fox Sports South)
Neither team has announced a starter for Sunday’s game but it looks like it is lining up to be a matchup featuring Kenta Maeda and Julio Teheran. Atlanta could opt to give Teheran an extra day of rest after he struggled in his last start against the Marlins with Max Fried as the likely option.